Advertising bad boy Paddy Power has been dumped on its backside once more over its campaign promoting an early pay-out on Floyd Mayweather beating Conor McGregor, under the phrase: “We always bet on black.”
The campaign, which ran in the Metro and London Evening Standard newspaper and was promoted on Twitter, triggered a barrage of criticism at the time, with many consumers accusing the bookmaker of racism.
It also prompted nine complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, that the headline contained an obvious reference to Mayweather’s race, and that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
In its defence, the bookmaker once again insisted that the quote had been misunderstood and that “betting on black” was a roulette reference because the fight was taking place in Las Vegas.
It added that said the headline was a famous quote from the 1992 film Passenger 57, where Wesley Snipes asked “Do you ever play roulette? Well, let me give you a word of advice: always bet on black”.
The firm insisted the campaign had been approved by Floyd Mayweather, who found the line funny, rather than offensive or derogatory.
However, this argument was rejected by the ASA. In its ruling, it said: “We considered that readers would interpret the headline to be a pun on Floyd Mayweather’s race and betting on roulette. We understood that the headline was also intended to be a reference to a 1992 film quote. There was, however, nothing further in the ad which indicated that the headline was a film quote, and we considered that many readers would be unfamiliar with the quote.”
While acknowledging that the headline did not make a negative statement about Mayweather’s race and had endorsed him to win the match, the ASA added: “We considered that readers would nevertheless be offended by the invitation to always bet on the outcome of a boxing match based on a boxer’s race, and the message that the boxing match was a fight between two different races. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence on the grounds of race.”
It went on to warn Paddy Power to ensure there would be no repetition in future advertising.
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